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Tennis, 1976-style

Encouraged by Jayne Stanton’s marvellous ‘this is not about poetry’ blog post, I’m going off-piste today. Which is a stupid metaphor really as this is not about skiing, but TENNIS.

I enjoy watching a bit of Wimbledon although to be honest I went off it big time during that period when all the women were shrieking over every shot. Thankfully there are only a few major offenders left and the newer players don’t seem to have the habit. Hurrah the young generation!

As a teenager I loved going to Wimbledon (it was cheap to get in on a ‘ground’ ticket, and you could get onto all the courts with it, even Centre Court, although you had to stand.) But even closer to home was Beckenham, one of the warm-up events prior to Wimbledon. It was much smaller and more intimate, but you could get all the top players’ autographs as they strolled from the pavilion to the court – Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Margaret Court, all wandering around amongst the crowd – it was nuts.

So if you’re interested in tennis, you may like this: snaps of the programme from 1976 which I’ve kept. It was a bit of a shock to pick it up again and see the cover, proudly displaying the Robertsons logo, the whole thing would today be seen as WRONG, but back then no-one blinked an eye:

Beckenham Tennis 1976 - front cover of programme

… clearly £2,000 was big money back then … and look at the difference between Men’s and Women’s (sorry, LADIES’) prize money:

Beckenham Tennis 1976 - prize money

And here’s an advert for British Leyland, in those heady days before Margaret Thatcher did for it:

Beckenham Tennis programme 1976 - British Leyland ad

The last word has to go to Donnay, or whichever agency produced what still for me is a standout ad. Was Bjorn Borg cool, or what?

Beckenham Tennis programme 1976 - Borg wins with Donnay



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  1. Jennifer Page Jennifer Page

    Mrs Thatcher did not DO IN British Leyland. Their shop stewards did. Loved the prize money shot. Ah those were the days, icecream 2d, bar of choc 6d. When a child in poverty meant a child without shoes… I too abandoned Wimbledon because grunting slam dunkery took all the joy out of the game. Poetry being throttled by the concrete brigade, ah well… >

  2. jaynestanton jaynestanton

    Thank you, Robin. It’s often other people’s blog posts that inspire new posts. 🙂

  3. I also went to Wimbledon a couple of times in the late 70’s when it was easier to get in. I loved it. I couldn’t stand all that queuing they have now. My son went last week, one late afternoon and got in after an hour. I hate the screamers too. Do they learn that now as part of the game, I wonder?! I was also interested to hear that these days players are taught double handed backhand. Why? I’m rather proud of my single backhand. Surely it gives you more flexibility? Still, what do I know. Things change, even the way the racket is held (as I found out when I took a class years after my first). All that said, I still love watching the game (and I enjoy playing short tennis these days with the over 50’s bunch!). Loved seeing the old programmes – takes me back. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Heather, I suppose the double-handed backhand allows more power to the top-spin. I think they still play it single-handed when it’s a slice, but nice to have both options. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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Robin Houghton 2021